May 23rd / Hertfordshire Constabulary have recently been dealing with an incident in which two girls inadvertently revealed their location to strangers online and were put in danger as a result.  They have therefore asked us to share this guidance with you …

Be aware that some of the information you share digitally may be “geotagged”.  This means location data is embedded in photographs, video, websites or SMS messages.  Whilst this can be very helpful to you and those you share the information with, it can also be helpful to criminals who are able to also access information about your whereabouts.

Therefore, please think before you post information.  Remember that your message, post or broadcast could be recorded or copied and then shared anywhere online – so think carefully about what you are sharing, and who you are sharing it with.  There will be occasions when it’s not appropriate to use geotagging, especially where the information you’re sharing involves your home or another person’s private residence.

Make sure you know how to disable your phone or camera’s geotagging feature.  Most smart phones have the geotagging feature (sometimes called Location Services) automatically set to operate, so you need to make a point of turning it off: it’s safer to opt into geotagging when you need it, rather than to opt out when you don’t.